Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local Sports

November 22, 2012

AARON SNYDER: Coach's antics overshadow Morehead State's showing

LEXINGTON —

Once again, Sean Woods' team had it.

And lost it.

I'm not talking about the game this time.

I'm referring to the opportunity to be recognized as a program on the rise.

When Woods was hired as Morehead State's head coach, he proclaimed that he had aspirations of Morehead State becoming "the Gonzaga of the South," meaning that it would eventually make consistent national noise as a mid-major.

He made the wrong kind of noise on Wednesday night during the Eagles' 81-70 loss to Kentucky in Rupp Arena.

The Eagles were being recognized, but it was because of negative attention toward their coach.

Fox Sports South aired the game live and caught most of the sequence that set Twitter feeds, Internet blogs and YouTube ablaze.

Devon Atkinson, a senior who transferred from Brunswick Community College in 2011, had just fouled out. As he was coming off the court, Atkinson must have said or done something to set his coach off. Or so it seemed, as an assistant coach looked to also be fired up at Atkinson as the point guard neared the team huddle.

Woods said something to Atkinson and then shoved him forcefully in the back towards the bench. The assistant grabbed Atkinson and pulled him away from the head coach, but Woods wasn't finished. He basically walked and talked Atkinson to his seat before leaving for a moment. Woods then returned, knelt down and delivered some words face-to-face. The guard appeared to then be fighting back tears.

"He gave everything he had and he let his emotions get the best of him a little bit," Woods commented on the situation after the game, "and I just had to let him know that, hey, it's not over. We're still in the game. Now you've got to figure out a way to calm down and cheer your teammates on."

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